October 17, 2022

Let’s Get Real on Recycling: 5 top tips for making a difference

Consumer research shows that 43% of people feel that brands make it harder for them to live sustainably, and only 28% report that they make it easier.1 Recycling is one key area where you can help your customers/facility users be sustainable – and better recycling will also save you money, as well as protect your reputation.

Earlier this year, we asked 1,500 businesses what was stopping them from being able to recycle better. 16% told us they were worried about costs, 33% cited ineffective systems, 15% said lack of knowledge or training and over a third were actually finding all three problematic.2 If this rings true for you, our simple tips are here to help.



1. Take a 90-second audit to find your recycling improvements and cost savings

One of the best ways you can get real on recycling is by identifying your business’ areas for improvement with the help of our free online audit tool. Just six simple questions will give you an indicative cost and waste saving, tailored to your business.

The RCP audit tool was the starting point for leading parcel group DPD, whose recycling improvements have led to 27% cost savings from diverting waste to the circular economy from general waste disposal. Boosting their recycling rate by 48%, once the upgrade project is rolled out, 500 tonnes of waste will be diverted every year.3

Read the full case study here.


2. Make recycling easy

Visibility is key when it comes to recycling - if your users can’t easily see how and where they can recycle within your facility, you’re not maximising your recycling potential. If recycling stations are difficult to identify, hidden from view, or it’s confusing what type of waste can be recycled, you’re in danger of falling short of your recycling targets.

Clear, colour-coded bins installed in a visible position will help cut through the confusion. Take our Slim Jim ® Recycling Stations, for example. Available in seven different colours, the bins come with a variety of labels and include three visual cues: the recycling symbol, a waste stream icon and text. The vibrant signposting makes recycling as easy as possible for people on the go.


3. Get real on cross-contamination

With multi-stream recycling stations in place in your facility, cross-contamination can occur by people placing non-recyclable materials into recycling bins, not cleaning materials properly or putting recyclables into the wrong recycling stream. The average recycling contamination rate is 25% - that’s 1 in 4 items!4 Not getting recycling right results in materials that could have been recycled going directly into landfill, or a costly and time-consuming process of separating contaminants.

Make a difference by educating your users about what is recyclable. In addition to clearly signposted bins, thought-provoking posters which grab your users’ attention are an effective way to reduce cross-contamination. Nudge people to think twice and put their rubbish in the proper recycling bin to help them become Real Recyclers.

Download our creative posters here and display them next to your recycling stations.



Integrate sustainability into the workplace by training your employees on the best recycling practices, supporting them to become advocates for better recycling and champion sustainability in your organisation.

Our new free Love to Learn Recycling online training has been designed to help businesses integrate sustainability into the workplace. In a world of information overload, our four interactive training modules streamline the most important knowledge your employees need to know to give them a stake in your business’ sustainability agenda.

Learn more about our training modules here.


5.Don’t hold back for fear of compromising aesthetics

Getting real about recycling doesn’t mean you have to compromise on looks or brand experience. The best of both worlds combines front-of-house aesthetics with back-of-house functionality. With a premium galvanised steel construction and sleek, magnetic panels, RCP’s Configure multi-stream recycling system has been designed with both in mind. Every detail is important when it comes to offering customers a fully seamless and attractive brand experience, which extends to your recycling stations.

Find out more here.


1 https://www.forbes.com/sites/solitairetownsend/2018/11/21/consumers-want-you-to-help-them-make-a-difference/?sh=187982f06954

2 Twitter poll conducted via @RCPEUR in January 2022, 1,470 respondents

3 https://www.rubbermaid.eu/en/blog/case-study-slim-jim-recycling-stations-deliver-dpd-reduced-costs-and-less-waste/

4 https://www.rubicon.com/blog/recycling-contamination-facts/

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